Sunday, March 30, 2008

Witch's Finger

כ'ד באדר ב' תשס"ח
Raven 25
My Witch's Finger crystal was mined in Zambia. Witch's Fingers are a combination of smoky quartz with rutile inclusions, sprinkled with micas, muscovite, zinnwaldite, magnetite, sphalerite, hematite and/or actinolite. Metaphysical properties include protection against chaotic energies, clearing the aura of negative attachments, aura shielding, aiding meditation, and attracting spiritual guides and teachers to partner toward development within the cosmic consciousness.

Science And Witchcraft

כ'ג באדר ב' תשס"ח
Raven 24

New additions to my bookshelf - Science Of The Craft by William Keith

"This is an excellent book to read in terms of exploring where quantum physics and magic intersects. The author does a wonderful job of explaining the concepts and providing background, as well as an explanation of how all the theory can be applied practically to magic."

MindLight by Silver RavenWolf

"Meditation with a quantum twist is what RavenWolf offers in her 19th book about witchcraft and magick. "Meditation is nothing more than the moment you make magick," she explains, and it is precisely the means for harnessing what she calls MindLight, an internal source of power that is "a tool that you can use to build a healthy, positive future."

Saturday, March 29, 2008

New Additions To My Bookshelf

כ'ב באדר ב' תשס"ח
Raven 23

Barddas: A Collection of Original Documents, Illustrative of the Theology, Wisdom, and Usages of the Bardo-Druidic System of the Isle of Britain by Authors: J. Williams Ab Ithel, Iolo Morganwg, John Williams, John Matthews.

"Serious students of Druidism and Paganism, as well as Celtic historians, are sure to include Barddas in their libraries. Barddas contains the only extant description of Bardo-Druidic Celtic philosophy. It is a metaphysical and spiritual description of beliefs handed down by word of mouth by Druidic initiates from before the Roman occupation of the British isles. Culled from 16th-century notes and compiled into book form, Barddas reveals a belief system with a wide range of influences, including Judeo-Christian and ancient Roman. Yet there are beliefs and views expressed within that appear to be unique to Celtic thought and oddly similar to Eastern traditions.

On its publication in the 19th century, Barddas stirred controversy. Some critics claimed that it was completely made up or based on forgeries. Others defended it by pointing out similarities to other surviving Celtic documents with clear provenance.

Photo-offset from the first printing, this edition of Barddas includes the original Welsh on verso pages with the English translation running on the recto pages.

John Matthews, popular writer about all things Celtic, provides an introduction outlining the history and contemporary importance of Barddas."

The Secret Life of Nature: Living in Harmony with the Hidden World of Nature Spirits from Fairies to Quarks by Peter Tompkins

"If you don't believe in fairies, this startling book by Peter Tompkins, the bestselling author of The Secret Life of Plants, will convince you otherwise.

Tompkins wasn't a true believer until he uncovered the extraordinary work of nineteenth century theosophists who used their yogic powers to see and study nature spirits, as well as accurately describe the subatomic structure of chemical elements, including isotopes not yet discovered. Find out what these spiritualists—in addition to Paracelsus, Dionysius, and other pioneers of the occult—have to say about the otherworldly creatures responsible for the growth and development of our world. Talented clairvoyants describe devas, elves, gnomes, fairies, sea nymphs, sylphs, and other beings that live in air, water, fire, and the earth. Going beyond the usual fairy dialogue, Tompkins also draws fascinating connections between the natural world and the Kabbalah Tree of Life, the astral and etheric body, angels, and other esoteric mysteries.

The Secret Life of Nature offers a profound message for curing the soul, as well as the planet, through communion with Earth's natural guardians."

Mythic Astrology Applied: Personal Healing Through the Planets by Ariel Guttman.

"During the past century, whole libraries from ancient Sumer and Babylon have been uncovered. Stacks and stacks of cuneiform tablets have been translated by scholars. Thousands of inscriptions record the omen literature of the era. Esoteric writings, ritual texts, lamentations, medical recipes, dream books, texts to counter witchcraft, lists of auspicious days, and so on fill these ancient tablets.

Anu was the god of heaven.His son Enlil was the god of earth. These were not separate domains, but instead two parts of the same domain. Earth was not lesser than heaven. There was an interdependence and complementary relationship between the two, and the omens or messages could clearly be seen as coming from one or the other realm. From them and their interplay, the West has inherited much of the body of its astrological mythologythe names and details changing but the stories remaining relatively similar. Though many may speculate that astrology is much older, the first written proof of its usage dates from the seventh century BCE and was found in King Ashurbanipals library in Assyria. Here we find predictions that dealt with matters affecting the entire country and its rulers, such as war and peace, plagues and famines, floods and droughts, etc. The worlds oldest astrology book, the Enuma Anu Enlil, was the chief atrological/astronomical text of the time. Astrological divination was its chief concern. The kings of ancient Babylon required two things from their astrologers. First, it was necessary to predict, with some precision, the occurrence of eclipses. Second, the moment the moon appeared as a crescent sliver each month in the night sky was extremely important, because it was at this moment that the Babylonian calendar month began. From the actual observable appearance in the sky of moons, eclipses, stars, and planets, stories began to unfold. It was not enough simply to observe a crescent moon in Taurus; the stars that the two horns of the moon pointed to were equally important. And if the moon contained a halo, that was another omen.

The planets as we know them today originated as the goddesses and gods of Sumer and Babylon. Matched with their Greek counterparts and given Greek and Latin names, they remain with us even today. Many perhaps most of them bore names that have become distant and unfamiliar to us. There was Anu the supreme sky god, his sons Enlil and Enki (who were sworn rivals), and then Ninhursag,Marduk, Ishkur, Nannar, Ninurta, Inanna, Nabu, Utu, and Nergal. Some of the members of this divine family got along great together; others absolutely hated each other. Sound familiar? We might recognize these deities as having some similarities both in character and function to the later twelve Olympians of the Greek system. The important point here, however, is that as astrology developed in the observatories of ancient Babylon, it was these early deities for whom the planets were named, and who were recognized as having a nature and function similar to the planet with which they were linked."

Kabbalistic Astrology: The Sacred Tradition of the Hebrew Sages by Rabbi Joel Dobin

"The author clearly has a thorough familiarity with midrashic thought and style, and his symbolic connections are thought provoking and useful. I especially enjoyed his discussion of how numerous and how pervasively subtle astrological references are in the original Hebrew of the Bible, despite the common modern belief/fixation that the Bible generally condemns astrology. He also offers intriguing attributions of the constellations from the standpoint of the 12 ancient tribes. There's lots of nifty stuff you just don't see in the usual astrological texts. I like this book very much for the historically rich worldview it presents.

The author claims to be using the constellations themselves rather than the signs in this system, which implies that he's using a sidereal zodiac, but a few pages later he talks about how 0 degrees of Aries is defined as occurring at the Vernal Equinox, which undoes his claim. Plus, even in a sideral zodiac the dates don't match his statements because his ayanamsha is sometimes apparently 30 degrees, sometimes apparently some other figure. By this I mean sometimes the dates or sign placements are okay, and other times not. He does not define or even mention any ayanamsha, though he does spend a bit of time talking about precession. Go figure, literally."

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Witch's Room

י'ח באדר ב' תשס"ח
Raven 19

New witches often wonder how to make an altar. For ideas, here is a brief description of My Altar.

Since I am staying with relatives, my altar is set up in my bedroom. I have a main altar along the eastern wall and a second smaller sacred area near the end of my bed which sits on top of one of the two dark wood free-standing "spice" cupboards I have to contain my herbs, candles and other supplies (each cupboard is about 3 feet tall by 8-14 inches deep by 16 inches wide). My main altar has been "built" upon six full to the brim bankers boxes of my older religious and spiritual books that I only occasionally need to reference. The stacked boxes of books form the foundation. On top of those is a front-opening one-drawer box in which my handcrafted Book of Shadows rests. The boxes and drawer are completely covered over with a thick black altar cloth made from material I bought at a hobby store. (Thus, my BOS is hidden within my altar and yet easily accessible.) On the top of all that, is a thick sheet glass tabletop. On top of the glass in the center is a smaller (about 7 inches square, 5 inches high) silver pentacle altar "table" upon which sits my covered 5" diameter quartz crystal ball. Behind it is a tall wooden CD rack with drawers in the middle for resins. My meditational CDs are in the rack, and the rest of the rack has been converted into small glass shelves to hold handmade potion bottles, a small cauldron, a small obsidian sphere - stuff like that. To the right and left of the main large crystal ball are black pillar candles. Also on the alter is a black bowl of water, my wooden wand, a small amber sphere, a large clear crystal cluster around which is wrapped my spirit cord when not in use, a stone smoking-bottle style incense burner, and a black sand hourglass. Standing on the floor in front of the altar is the other wooden cupboard, upon which rests a tea box, upon which rests a black cast resin pentacle box with my ritual jewelry in it. There is more that has been built up around the sides of the altar which contribute to the atmosphere. My besom, witch ball, 7-branched menorah, kiddush and chalice cups, mortars and pestles and other ritual items are scattered all about my bedroom. A large wooden treasure chest holds holy-day specific ritual items that I don't use on a daily basis. Electromagnetic windchimes fill the air with gentle music all the time I am in the room. Thick floor length pomegranate-colored brocade panels with a valance made from a black chiffon shoulder wrap cover the window. A small nightstand made of dark "distressed" wood holds more supplies, like my athame, quill, ogham sticks, medicine bag, ritual compass, magic skeleton keys, tarot and hebrew letter cards, and black skrying mirror. On top of the nightstand is my larger cauldron and large corked bottles of loose incense compounds. Nearby, a long thin lamp stands with amber crystal beads and purposeful threads dangling from the earthy shade, casting a gentle glow when in use. A wrapped scroll lays lazily somewhere in the room. The whole atmosphere is permeated with artful witchiness. While it may all sound patchwork, the total effect is perfectly put together. There is no place else on earth as witchy as my bedroom. The room is magic.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Purim Pendant

י'ד באדר ב' תשס"ח
Raven 15

My garnet and onyx pendant arrived today! Just in time for Purim! Yay!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

More Natal Chart Details

א' באדר ב' תשס"ח
Raven 2
Rosh Chodesh Adar II

More natal chart astrological details.

(Sun) 1/ 8/1961 5:33pm Moon (Vir) Squ [Gem] Mars
(Sun) 1/ 8/1961 8:38pm Mercury (Sag) Con (Sag) Saturn

1: Pluto [Leo] Con [Leo] Node - app 1:00' - power: 46.88
2: Neptune (Lib) Sex [Leo] Pluto - sep 3:06' - power: 40.78
3: Uranus [Leo] Opp (Aqu) Chiron - sep 3:46' - power: 27.71
4: Jupiter (Sag) Con (Sag) Saturn - app 4:33' - power: 22.97
5: Mars [Gem] Sex [Leo] Pluto - sep 2:47' - power: 20.10
6: Mercury (Sag) Con (Sag) Saturn - sep 0:01' - power: 17.46
7: Sun (Sag) Con (Sag) Saturn - app 1:55' - power: 16.63
8: Sun (Sag) Con (Sag) Jupiter - sep 2:38' - power: 12.58
9: Venus (Aqu) Opp [Leo] Pluto - app 3:26' - power: 11.46
10: Jupiter (Sag) Sex (Lib) Neptune - sep 4:58' - power: 8.72
11: Venus (Aqu) Tri [Gem] Mars - app 0:38' - power: 6.14
12: Mars [Gem] Tri (Lib) Neptune - sep 5:54' - power: 5.30
13: Mercury (Sag) Con (Sag) Jupiter - sep 4:34' - power: 5.21
14: Sun (Sag) Con (Sag) Mercury - sep 1:56' - power: 3.79
15: Venus (Aqu) Con (Aqu) Chiron - sep 5:32' - power: 3.54
16: Moon (Vir) Squ [Gem] Mars - sep 1:47' - power: 3.11
17: Mars [Gem] Tri (Aqu) Chiron - app 6:10' - power: 2.68
18: Pluto [Leo] Con (Leo) Ascendant - sep 2:01' - power: 2.22
19: Pluto [Leo] Squ (Tau) Midheaven - app 1:15' - power: 2.05
20: Venus (Aqu) Tri (Lib) Neptune - app 6:32' - power: 1.01
21: Node [Leo] Con (Leo) Ascendant - sep 1:00' - power: 0.94
22: Venus (Aqu) Squ (Tau) Midheaven - sep 2:10' - power: 0.31
23: Jupiter (Sag) Tri (Leo) Ascendant - app 6:03' - power: 0.15
24: Moon (Vir) Tri (Tau) Midheaven - app 0:15' - power: 0.15
25: Ascenda (Leo) Squ (Tau) Midheaven - app 3:16' - power: 0.03

1/ 8/61 24Sg25 12Vi42 26Sg22 10Aq16 10Ge54.21Sg47 26Sg21 0Le56.16Li48 13Le42. 4Aq43 14Le43.

1/ 9/61 25Sg26 25Vi21 28Sg01 11Aq23 10Ge33.22Sg01 26Sg28 0Le54.16Li49 13Le41. 4Aq46 14Le40.

Stellium with Sun: 24Sag26 and Mer: 26Sag22 and Jup: 21Sag47
Stellium with Sun: 24Sag26 and Mer: 26Sag22 and Sat: 26Sag21
Stellium with Sun: 24Sag26 and Jup: 21Sag47 and Sat: 26Sag21
Stellium with Mer: 26Sag22 and Jup: 21Sag47 and Sat: 26Sag21
Grand Trine with Ven: 10Aqu16 and Mar: 10Gem54 and Nep: 16Lib49
Cradle from Mar: 10Gem54 to Plu: 13Leo42 to Nep: 16Lib49 to Jup: 21Sag47
Stellium with Plu: 13Leo42 and Nod: 14Leo43 and Asc: 15Leo44
T-Square from Mid: 12Tau27 to Ven: 10Aqu16 and Plu: 13Leo42

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Legends Of The Goddess III

כ'ט באדר א' תשס"ח
Keolwulf 30

My new awesome CD arrived today! Trilogy: Legends Of The Goddess III by Laura Powers

"Evocative, with rich lyrical symbolism and vocal textures, the endcap of the Legends of the Goddess series, Trilogy: Legends of the Goddess III, brings this musical journey full circle. Come along as the music weaves a thread though time and cultures (The World Is A River), feel the power of faith (It Shall Be No More) and touch the sweetness of the love of a lifetime (I've Loved You Forever). Mystical, personal and uplifting, these are songs for the discriminating listener who wishes for something beyond the ordinary from their listening experience."

Lyrics from Mystic & The Muse

A spiral shell
The deepest well
The beating of my heart
All echo with the
Mysteries of your art
And on this darkest night
I give my word

I take your seven secrets
Into the fire
Like the phoenix flew
Where only love can reach us
We rise anew
The Mystic and the Muse

We burn so bright
You take the light
Spin it into gold
You reach through time
To hear a voice of old
And now it calls to us
And so we go ...

Related entry: Mitzvah Wrtitten In The Stars

Lyrics from I've Loved You Forever

The power, the glory
I see the laughter and the tears
Through lifetimes, our story
Grows ever stronger with the years

Only you hold the key to my soul ...

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Season Of The Witch High Fashion Trend

Check this out - Luella Fall Winter 08/09 Womenswear. Definitely witchy.

Hat-tip to Jason of The Wild Hunt.

My Sidereal Whole Natal Chart

כ'ד באדר א' תשס"ח
Keolwulf 25

Click for larger view.

Contrast My Tropical Placidus Natal Chart.

Chart Details.

Astrolog 5.40 chart for Sun Jan 8, 1961 8:56pm (ST -6:00 GMT) 87:37W 40:07N
Body Locat. Ret. Lati. Rul. House Rul. Veloc. Whole Houses.
Sun : 24Sag25 + 0:00' (-) [ 5th house] [R] +1.019 - House cusp 1: 0Leo00
Moon: 12Vir44 + 2:33' (-) [ 2nd house] [e] +12.48 - House cusp 2: 0Vir00
Merc: 26Sag22 - 2:00' (F) [ 5th house] [d] +1.641 - House cusp 3: 0Lib00
Venu: 10Aqu17 - 1:12' (-) [ 7th house] [R] +1.116 - House cusp 4: 0Sco00
Mars: 10Gem53 R + 3:49' (-) [11th house] [-] -0.342 - House cusp 5: 0Sag00
Jupi: 21Sag47 - 0:06' (R) [ 5th house] [-] +0.233 - House cusp 6: 0Cap00
Satu: 26Sag21 + 0:06' (-) [ 5th house] [F] +0.118 - House cusp 7: 0Aqu00
Uran: 0Leo57 R + 0:45' (F) [ 1st house] [-] -0.032 - House cusp 8: 0Pis00
Nept: 16Lib49 + 1:45' (-) [ 3rd house] [d] +0.018 - House cusp 9: 0Ari00
Plut: 13Leo42 R +12:55' (-) [ 1st house] [-] -0.015 - House cusp 10: 0Tau00
Chir: 4Aqu44 + 5:37' (-) [ 7th house] [-] +0.055 - House cusp 11: 0Gem00
Node: 14Leo43 R + 0:00' (F) [ 1st house] [-] +0.053 - House cusp 12: 0Can00

Car Fix Mut TOT +:12
Fir 0 4 4 8 -: 2
Ear 0 1 1 2 M: 3
Air 1 2 1 4 N: 9
Wat 0 0 0 0 A: 6
TOT 1 7 6 14 D: 6
<: 7

Astrolog 5.40 chart for Sun Jan 8, 1961 8:56pm (ST -6:00 GMT) 87:37W 40:07N

Sun in Sagittarius and 5th House: This person's spirit, ego, image of self, and sense of aliveness is jovial, open minded, loves freedom, and seeks meaning and new experience. Most often this manifests in the area of life dealing with finding joy, pleasure, and creative expression.

Moon in Virgo and 2nd House: This person's emotional nature, moods, feelings, and caring tendencies is analytical, critical, modest, helpful, and works toward perfection. Most often this manifests in the area of life dealing with self image, self worth, and material security.

Mercury in Sagittarius and 5th House: This person's thoughts, intellect, and communicative activity is jovial, open minded, loves freedom, and seeks meaning and new experience. Most often this manifests in the area of life dealing with finding joy, pleasure, and creative expression. (This bit plays only a minor part in their psyche.)

Venus in Aquarius and 7th House: This person's creativity, tendencies for affection and calmness, and relationship needs is progressive, erratic, revolutionary, idealistic, humanitarian, inventive, and desires individuality. Most often this manifests in the area of life dealing with personal relationships and intimacy.

Retrograde Mars in Gemini and 11th House: This person's will, energy, activity, and aggressive, assertive tendencies is inquisitive, witty, perceptive, adaptable, and seeks out information. Most often this manifests in an independent, backward, introverted manner, and in the area of life dealing with the future, life goals, and association with friends and groups.

Jupiter in Sagittarius and 5th House: This person's enthusiastic, faithful, wise, expansive, spontaneous nature is jovial, open minded, loves freedom, and seeks meaning and new experience. Most often this manifests in the area of life dealing with finding joy, pleasure, and creative expression. This is a major aspect of their psyche!

Saturn in Sagittarius and 5th House: This person's part of mind that is disciplined, respectful, and solitary is jovial, open minded, loves freedom, and seeks meaning and new experience. Most often this manifests in the area of life dealing with finding joy, pleasure, and creative expression.

Retrograde Uranus in Leo and 1st House: This person's individuality, desires for change, and tendency to go against social norms is very proud, gregarious, dramatic, dignified, and desires self expression. Most often this manifests in an independent, backward, introverted manner, and in the area of life dealing with establishment of personal identity. (This bit plays only a minor part in their psyche.)

Neptune in Libra and 3rd House: This person's intuitive, spiritual, compassionate, psychic nature is affectionate, tolerant, often indecisive, appreciates beauty, and seeks balance, relationship, and calmness. Most often this manifests in the area of life dealing with communicating to and receiving from the environment.

Retrograde Pluto in Leo and 1st House: This person's destiny, and capacity to transform the self and the outer world is proud, gregarious, dramatic, dignified, and desires self expression. Most often this manifests in an independent, backward, introverted manner, and in the area of life dealing with establishment of personal identity.

Chiron in Aquarius and 7th House: This person's ability to help, heal, and teach others, and where one has much experience is very progressive, erratic, revolutionary, idealistic, humanitarian, inventive, and desires individuality. Most often this manifests in the area of life dealing with personal relationships and intimacy.

Retrograde North Node in Leo and 1st House: This person's karmic goals, and best direction of evolutionary growth is proud, gregarious, dramatic, dignified, and desires self expression. Most often this manifests in the area of life dealing with establishment of personal identity. (This bit plays only a minor part in their psyche.)

Tropical Vs. Sidereal Astrology

כ'ד באדר א' תשס"ח
Keolwulf 25

Kenneth Bowser answers some frequently asked astrological questions.

What is the difference between tropical and sidereal astrology?

In the sidereal system the positions of celestial bodies are reckoned from the stars—it's a fixed stellar frame of reference. In the tropical system, the positions of celestial bodies are reckoned from the equinoxes and solstices—it's a seasonal frame of reference. The tropical zodiac is known as the "moving zodiac" because the equinox is constantly drifting westward against the background of the stars. The tropical zodiac moves with respect to the stars because it doesn't take into account one of the earth's orbital motions: precession. Precession can be illustrated by looking down at a child's spinning top. The top has a secondary motion inside its spin—it wobbles or precesses about its spin axis—just as the earth's pole describes a complete circle with a radius of 23 and 1/2 degrees in 25,800 years. This means the equinoxes continuously point at different stars over time—not the same star year after year—on the days of the equinoxes. The rate of change between the equinox and the sky is approximately 50.25 seconds of arc per year or about one degree every 71 and 2/3 years. The term "tropical" refers to the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn that describe the limits of the Sun's maximum declination values north and south of the equator. The Sun's declination is zero at the spring and autumnal equinoxes when day and night are equal. Sidereal astrology employs declination to describe positions of bodies but not to define the limits of the zodiac.

How does the actual practice of western sidereal astrology differ from tropical astrology?

The main difference is, of course, the zodiac. Both tropicalists and western siderealists use primary directions, secondary and tertiary progressions, transits, astrocartography and other methods. The are two main points of departure: timing, and the problem of tropical versus sidereal sign meanings. In the first case, because tropical reckoning ignores precession, a timing error accrues with age that becomes an entire degree by age 72. The Sun takes about a day to advance a degree in the zodiac but Saturn can take more than a month to move a full degree. For example, if a transiting planet reaches a natal planet in tropical zodiac reckoning for someone who is 58, President Bush's age, one might assume that the effects will be felt immediately. But generally, nothing happens. By tropical reckoning, transiting Saturn will conjoin Bush's natal Saturn on October 8, 2004. But forty-eight minutes and 58 seconds of precession will have accrued since Mr. Bush's birth by the fall of 2004. In terms of sidereal reckoning, transiting Saturn will conjoin his natal Saturn exact to the second of arc on election day. The sidereal astrologer would say that Mr. Bush will experience transiting Saturn conjoined to its natal place not on October 8, 2004 but on November 2, 2004, almost 25 full days later. In the second case, the problem is legitimacy. The sidereal position is that trait characteristics derive from the archetypal and original zodiac: the zodiac of the stars. An archetype is invested with meaning because it is original and self defining. It exists regardless of our awareness or beliefs. This issue addresses the matter of whether trait characteristics are carried by the sidereal signs or the tropical signs. In other words, which one is invested with legitimacy? They can't both be right. As the tropical signs precess farther and farther away from their sidereal namesakes, the most glaring issue between tropical and sidereal reckoning is thrown into bold relief. The meanings of the tropical signs have evolved to compensate for the problems of precession as the signs have slowly moved out of the territory of the constellations that was their original venue. For example, most of what is called Scorpio in terms of tropical zodiac reckoning is the constellation of Libra. Scorpio is aggressive, insistent, penetrating and intense. It is typically harsh, forceful, intolerant of opposition and will attempt to crush an opponent by any means. Libra is ruled by Venus. It has a tender, artistic, pleasure loving and gentle quality. Libra is clearly a lover—and not a fighter—like Scorpio. The result is that tropical Scorpio is assigned many of Libra’s qualities. It is seen as sensual and erotic. This sort of bleed-over has happened with all the signs. Sidereal astrology restores the crispness of the sign traits to their original venue which was usurped by the adoption of the tropical zodiac in the West. The sidereal position is that if someone has the Sun in tropical Scorpio but sidereal Libra, only the Libran traits are considered valid.

My Tropical Placidus Natal Chart

כ'ד באדר א' תשס"ח
Keolwulf 25

Click graphic for larger view.